Happy New Year!!
When Mayberry dress* by Jennifer Lauren was released, I really wanted to make it! I liked its interesting lines and its vintage vibe, I found it so unique and beautiful!
Since a few months ago, Jennifer came up with a great idea. She decided to give away one JLH (Jennifer Lauren Handmade) sewing pattern each month to a group of sewing lovers (different each month). The purpose was to give her sewing pattern to people with different sizes and with a variety of sewing skills. All she asked is a genuine opinion of the monthly sewing pattern in a review. That way, anyone would be able to see her patterns made in different sizes! I was lucky enough to be chosen by Jennifer to review the Mayberry dress!
The Mayberry dress is a dress with a slightly curved neckline and off-center button placket. Darts give shape to the bust while in-built drawstring shapes the waist. Not to mention that it comes in multiple cup sizes! Isn’t that cool!? There are three sleeve variations: 1) long sleeves, 2) 3/4 sleeves and 3) short sleeves; all of them are gathered to a narrow cuff. The skirt has pockets and the hem of the skirt hits just above the knee. This sewing pattern is for confident beginner sewists. Read the complete description of the Mayberry dress here.
I chose to make the 3/4 sleeve version as most of my winter dresses have short sleeves(!). Yes, they do! So, I looked for a snuggly, cozy and warm fabric, perfect for the colder days of the winter. When I saw this beautiful burgundy cupro/velvet fabric at tsagrinos, I immediately fell in love with it! I loved its drape and its color. I purchased it for 5 euros per meter (I bought 2 meters).
My goal was to make a dress to wear daily and not only on special occasions! That way, I chose this beautiful purplish/greyish buttons with a little glitter on them(~0.60euros each/ I bought 5 buttons) and 2 meters of a cotton cord as a drawstring at the waist; both of them were from my local haberdashery. Finally, I used this beautiful multicolored polka-dot fabric in the pockets that I have already in my stash and I love.
Firstly, I would like to mention how beautifully made Jennifer’s sewing patterns are and how well they are organized. Mayberry dress isn’t the first JLH sewing pattern I have used. I have also made an Auden cardigan for my Dad – you can see it here – and I was so pleased with the pattern pieces layout. In the pattern instructions, you can check which pattern pieces you need for your chosen version and print only the necessary pages. I find this soo cool!
On to the construction now. I made size 10B with 3/4 sleeves. The instructions are easy to follow, detailed and beginner friendly. They have a lot of step-by-step sketches that are really helpful.
The part I struggled the most was attaching the sleeves to the sleeve cuff. I may had to unpick and resew the first sleeve at least two times! It was the first time for me using this technique so that is why I found it difficult. After sewing the first sleeve in place, I was much quicker on the second – I didn’t have to unpick it not even once!
According to the instructions of the sleeve, you have to gather the bottom of the sleeve and sandwiched it between the cuff and sew it. That is what I did. However, I was thinking afterward if it would make this process easier if I first sew the inside side of the cuff onto the sleeve, then turn the cuff outside (hugging the sleeve hem) and sew it from the outside of the sleeve like a bias tape. That way, you secure it from both sides in steps and for sure! I hope it makes sense. I did not have any other issue with the construction of the pattern apart from the step I mentioned above.
The neckline and the button placket are faced with interfaced self-fabric that stabilize the buttonholes and the opening of the dress. If I had chosen a fabric that causes a static issue, I would definitely line the entire dress. You might have already know how much I like to line my garments! Thankfully, my fabric choice makes my dress hangs beautifully and it is slippery enough from the inside. I don’t like wearing any slip underneath my clothes so lining my garments may increase the cost of each garment but it pays off.
I decided to add this cotton cord to the waist instead of making my own bias tape or buy one. I really like how it looks, as I think it makes it look modern and fresh.
As far as the fitting of the dress is concerned, I would say that I found it more fitted at the shoulder area than I would like to. When I move my hands around, for example when I pick my little one for a hug, I feel the shoulder area slightly tight. Also, the bust darts, even if I chose my cup size are about 3-4cm higher than where they suppose to be. The truth is that I didn’t do any tissue fitting before cutting my fabric in order to check where the darts are layered out and if I’ve had to move them. So next time I will move the darts 3-4cm lower. Moving darts is an alteration that I’ve had to do to my Mona jacket too.
Overall, I like my Mayberry dress. Love the color and the design of my dress. It is an easy winter choice as the material of it and the 3/4 sleeves add warmth to the body. I really enjoyed wearing on Xmas day! Finally, I would like to thank Jennifer (aka Jennifer Lauren) for providing me this beautiful sewing pattern and choosing me to write a review on her adorable dress! I really enjoyed making it, wearing it and writing my thoughts on my Mayberry dress.
Sewing pattern: Mayberry dress by Jennifer Lauren Handmade
Make another one: I would love to make another one in a chambray fabric with short sleeves.